The human element: Why expert guidance is critical to effective cloud strategy

December 1, 2017 Managed Services
Artificial intelligence.

The rise of cloud computing and the numerous applications it supports, from on-demand video streaming to advanced artificial intelligence (AI) entities such as Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa, have spurred concern about a Skynet-like situation from the "Terminator" movies. If you are unfamiliar with the franchise, the most important details to know about Skynet are:

  • Its self-awareness as as artificial neural net, with the ability to continually improve its intelligence. This design is similar to that of natural neural nets such as human brains. There are also many other technological neural nets in existence today, including the facial recognition engine behind the FaceID authentication system in the iPhone X.
  • Its distribution across multiple non-traditional computing devices (i.e., hardware other than PCs, servers, smartphones and tablets), presaging the Internet of Things (IoT). The most prominent of these endpoints were the Terminator cyborgs, which Skynet typically instructed to carry out various destructive missions.
  • Its superiority to most forms of human intelligence, enabling it to foment AI takeover. Technologists including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have warned against similar situations in real life in recent years. The emergence of autonomous vehicles and armed drones (the latter a fixture of Skynet's device fleet) has amplified these fears and inspired calls for more careful development of AI.

However, despite this grim picture of a world overrun by AI, it is not clear we are close to such a reality or even if one will ever materialize. Digital assistants often struggle with simple tasks such as answering questions, while it is unlikely that any robot in existence could be placed in a random house and successfully figure out how to make a cup of tea there.

Likewise, in IT the human touch remains essential to every major domain of expertise. The recommendations of actual persons are pivotal in making decisions about cybersecurity and how to manage complex repositories of enterprise data. With so many similarities between the basic infrastructures underpinning all cloud services, much of the difference resides in who you're working with, from tech support representatives to consultants. Let's look at the difference having a trusted partner can make.

Making sense of complex cloud workflows with expert guidance

Even Skynet, for all of its sophistication and efficiency, did not spring from nothing. It was originally designed by humans at Cyberdyne Systems. While no one would wish to develop something that ultimately spiraled out of control with such grave consequences like Skynet did, there's a lesson here in the need for skilled professionals when building projects that ultimately scale to many users.

For example, imagine trying to set up secure email hosting in a private cloud. Corporate email platforms are often maintained for years after their underlying technologies are past their primes, creating many complications along the way. One vendor documented a client's migration from Microsoft Exchange 2010 and how it was complicated by the number of shortcuts users had created over the years for accessing nominally secure systems (another example of human ingenuity overcoming computerized controls).

In others word, a complex workflow such as email system migration is best undertaken with the help of a trusted partner, such as UbiStor. Instead of going it alone, you can benefit from UbiStor's unique insights for:

  • Diagramming your complete computing environment.
  • Evaluating feasible solutions, based on technical requirements as well as budgets.
  • Testing and documenting the replacement systems to guarantee their stability.

This approach minimizes risk while boosting cost-effectiveness. Working in tandem with a proven business partner allows you to get more value from every dollar spent and avoid costly over-investments in traditional IT equipment. UbiStor's diverse portfolio of cloud computing services, supported by ultra-secure data center facilities, helps simplify the process of modernizing and streamlining your IT operations.

Future-proofing your business for a rapidly evolving tech landscape

Maybe Skynet-like systems aren't around the corner, but that doesn't mean significant changes to enterprise tech aren't in store in the near future. Amazon recently announced a new operating system called Amazon FreeRTOS, designed for IoT devices running on simple microcontroller units rather than CPUs. Its Alexa platform is also being rolled out to enterprises via Alexa for Business.

These two changes represent the growing influence of non-traditional computing devices such as embedded sensors and voice-power assistants. However, the main reason we should take such product announcements seriously is the underlying cloud infrastructure. After all, Amazon pioneered Infrastructure as a Service in the 2000s.

"Customization is important when implementing any cloud solution."

Having dependable cloud assets in place is the cornerstone of a future-proof IT strategy. More specifically, cloud storage, computing power and networking enable operations to be rapidly scaled as business goals evolve, saving you the trouble of procuring additional hardware and software at great expense on the fly. You become optimally prepared to meet the challenges of the emerging IoT, the advances in AI and advent of virtual/altered reality. At the same time, the cloud service provider you select makes all the difference in ensuring you meet all key security requirements while staying on a fiscally sustainable track.

Customization is important when implementing any cloud solution, given the varied regulatory environments, customer bases and average revenues of different industries. These differences inevitably influence the specific policies and objectives of solutions such as Disaster Recovery as a Service and Backup as a Service. Accordingly, there isn't usually a one-size-fits-all approach. Your partner's professional services will determine the precise setup and experience you receive.

How UbiStor can help you put your IT operations on more solid footing

Thinking back to the fictional AI system (Skynet) we discussed earlier, it's apparent this advanced network of machines ultimately relied on everyday technologies such as servers and video conferencing software. It needed reliable IT infrastructure.

As your business grows, it will also need access to dependable resources as well as expert guidance in how to put them to best use. UbiStor can deliver on both counts. Learn more about our Commvault Professional Services today and contact us with any questions or concerns.